North Texas Daily

Concert Review: HAIM

Concert Review: HAIM

Concert Review: HAIM
October 10
14:33 2013

Stephen Young / Contributing Writer

HAIM — which rhymes with, well, rhyme — has been on quite a roll lately. Since self-releasing their debut EP Forever in February of 2012, the California retro-pop specialists have been everywhere, taking starring turns at the last two South by Southwest festivals, topping the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll and, most recently, putting out a critically acclaimed full-length album, September’s “Days Are Gone.”

Fresh off a sterling set at another of Austin’s big festivals, ACL, HAIM — and a horde of adoring fans – invaded Deep Ellum Tuesday night for a spillover week show at Trees, one that would prove to be a fun Dallas debut for the band and a tantalizing glimpse of their potential.

Walking east on Elm Street toward the venue, it was pretty clear that the band had gotten significantly bigger since the show was booked in August. Trees’ capacity is about 700 and the show sold out well in advance, but people had still showed up, hoping against hope, to get in at the door. Judging by the dejected faces on people walking away from the venue, and the disappointment being expressed by some of those left out on Twitter, HAIM could have filled a venue at least twice as big.

Packing that many people into a mid-size venue is no easy feat, and the extra time required to wedge everyone in necessitated the show’s openers, IO Echo, kicking off their performance more than an hour after the concert’s 8 p.m. listed start time.

The indie-pop duo adds a couple of members for its live shows, to its benefit. The additional instrumentation gave the set a pleasant bluesy quality, especially during a spot-on cover of the Beatles’ “She’s So Heavy.” The crowd seemed to get into the performance a bit too, giving the band a much stronger reception than it received the last time it was in Dallas, when it opened for The Joy Formidable at the same venue in April.

Still though, by the end of IO Echo’s set, most of the audience was more than ready for the main event, buzzing impatiently throughout the room.

When HAIM – which, for the uninitiated, consists of the three Haim sisters, Alana, Danielle and Este, as well as a rotating touring drummer – finally took the stage, Trees was ready to explode and, as the trio launched into “Falling,” Days Are Gone’s first track, it very nearly did.

It was an excellent start to what would be an excellent, if brief, show. The band’s setlist was only 10 songs deep, and that included a cover – Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” – and an amusing freestyle by Este about take-out and making out, but it was uniformly high energy and entertaining.

“Forever” and “Don’t Save Me” were particularly terrific. The songs were the band’s first two singles for a reason, and live, stripped of studio sheen, they gave the Haims’ a chance to strut their considerable instrumental chops, showcasing the band’s eighties folk-rock meets nineties R&B sound.

The music was fantastic all evening, but remarkably, it probably wasn’t the most memorable thing that happened onstage. About midway through the sisters’ 50-minute set, Este, hot from the stage lighting, paused for a second to take off her jacket. As she did, an idiot in the crowd proceeded to yell something at her about taking the rest of her clothes off. Big mistake. With Alana and Danielle laughing beside her, she launched into a delightfully profane verbal undressing of the heckler that would have made Louis C.K. proud.

It was wonderful, rock star stuff from a band that seems destined to be rock stars, an awesome moment in a night full of them.

If you’re headed to ACL Weekend Two, you’d do well to check HAIM out. They perform at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Lady Bird stage.

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